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Gravesham Business Awards: The Windmill Tavern nominated

Five years ago Natalie Wells and Paul Bridges took on a pub from the previous owner of 34 years, taking on the added challenge of striving to keep The Windmill Tavern as a 'go-to' place.

The pub business is tricky at any time, but especially difficult nowadays. With lifestyle changes and most people having less disposable income, the food and drinks market is an ever-challenging place.

Offering something different to give people a reason to come to your venue is something this couple excels at by moving with the times.

Natalie Wells and Paul Bridges of The Windmill Tavern
Natalie Wells and Paul Bridges of The Windmill Tavern

In 2014, the tavern, in Shrubbery Road, Gravesend, introduced a local beer festival in its garden which was repeated for the following three years. This event runs alongside live music days including the annual Salsa and Brazilian Barbecue.

In July 2017, the couple converted the tavern’s basement into Gravesend's first Gin Bar, themed around a Second World War air-raid shelter. The menu offered 23 different gins, some locally sourced, and has been a roaring success.

Natalie said: “We are owner-managers who live on site. We have invested heavily in the business over the last four years and are proud of where we have taken it. By investment we mean not only money but mainly time.

"We work tirelessly to ensure that our customers have the best experience and we are hands on at every event both back and front of house.”

The Windmill also has a special relationship with the park behind the premises, and manages the gardens for Gravesham council. This relationship was inherited from the previous owner and is still being continued. It supports the active use of the three tennis courts used by the community and pub customers, as well as the bowling green.

This year’s sponsors are: University of Greenwich, Barnes Roffe, Handleshanken, KM Media Group, Kuflink, Gravesham council, Rise Communications, Hatten Wyatt, Caxtons, Partnership Invoice Finance, GK Coffee Group (Starbucks), and SoftForge.

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